The pants don’t fit. After digging through a giant pile of clothes and trying to wriggle into every last pair, none of them fit. I could feel my stomach turning, a cold sweat broke out across my forehead. Not again. This hasn’t happened again. I’d lost control. I’d let it go too far and for too long. Months of eating my feelings- sadness, joy, depression, fear, doubt, happiness- had taken me far from the fit, healthy girl I was to this average, out of shape, mom. Even as I type the words, I cringe. The shallow depth of my thoughts is evident to me and I’m ashamed to even admit it. After all, a woman is not defined by her measurements, her worth is not counted in the inches around her waist.
And I know all these things in my heart. But my head screams a different story.
Not thin enough
Not small enough
Not good enough
It’s hard to turn from a lie you’ve believed your whole life. A lie that has had years to wind itself into every dark corner of your head. When I was at my healthiest, every well-meaning compliment of, “You look amazing!” or “You don’t look like you’ve had three kids” only rooted that lie deeper into the soil of my mind. Not even at my healthiest was I ever good enough. At least, not for myself.
In my pursuit of perfection, I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, paleo. I’ve counted calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. I’ve gulped down gallons of water and exercised to the point of extreme exhaustion. And I’ve also done none of it at all. It turns out, obsessively beating yourself up is mentally exhausting. I get so fed up with the never being good enough that I quit. Until I eventually find myself back in that same dark place, squeezing my upper arms, poking at the softness around my waistband, hating my body and myself.
This morning I re-read the story of the fall of man. The one where Eve eats the forbidden fruit and the entire course of history is changed. Instead of walking with God, humanity would now have to face the wilderness.
And it started with one little phrase:
Did God really say. . . ?
When I read this I pictured myself in Eve’s place. My thoughts didn’t go to doubting myself, but to doubting my God. Why would He say no? What wasn’t He telling me? Why is He holding out on me?
Because that’s how I feel now, isn’t it? Like God was holding out on me? Like, maybe He didn’t do His best work when He put me together?
And then, like a ton of bricks to the gut, my stomach twisted and I saw all my self-doubt and self-loathing rush in front of me like a speeding train. A rare moment of clarity:
When I doubt that I am enough, I’m doubting that God is enough.
When I question the way I’m made, I’m questioning the goodness of God.
The reality of living in the world after Eden is a reality of shame, fear, guilt, and doubt. Oh, but it’s countered with the reality of a very good and loving God. A God who doesn’t put people together absentmindedly and doesn’t leave us alone in our brokenness. Instead He comes alongside us, arm around our shoulders, trying desperately to pry our eyes open to the wonder of His glory and, in turn, the wonder of His best creation: ourselves.
You see, we’ve been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God himself; so, if we believe our God is good and loving and beautiful, then we need to believe it about ourselves, too.
While fear and guilt and shame may be a part of our reality, they don’t have to be our compass. When we believe and trust our Creator, we can start peeling off the layers of lies and doubts that weigh us down and keep us in darkness.
We can wrap ourselves in His Light and Love and know that we are, indeed, enough.